Launched in 2016, the L.U.C Full Strike was Chopard’s first foray into the world of minute repeaters and was a true reimagining of the complication: the watch featured a monobloc sapphire crystal and gong assembly and an independent power source for the striking mechanism, along with a host of safety features preventing the user from accidentally damaging the movement. The Full Strike went on to win the top honour at the 2017 GPHG, the Aiguille d’Or. Following the first model, which was crafted in Chopard’s ethical Fairmined 18k rose gold, Chopard launched a version in 18k Fairmined white gold in 2018. And now it’s time for the sapphire gongs to be joined by a full sapphire crystal case.
To mark the 25th anniversary of its Haute Horlogerie L.U.C collection, Chopard has just unveiled a highly limited, five-piece run of the Full Strike, this time with a case made of sapphire. The case of the Full Strike Sapphire shares the same dimensions as the earlier versions of the watch, which means that it measures 42.5mm in diameter and 11.55mm in thickness. What is remarkable is that the entire case, including the crown with its integrated minute repeater pusher, has been rendered in synthetic corundum. This results in a truly striking (pun intended, of course!) aesthetic with a full-on, unimpeded view of the movement; from the individual bridge and dual barrels to the screws threading through the caseband to connect the caseback to the bezel.
The airy feel of the case is enhanced by the use of an openworked sapphire cut-out for the dial. All indications are first engraved into the sapphire crystal, then painted. Rhodium-plated herringbone-style indices for the hours are complemented with modified Dauphine hands for the time-telling functions. An 18k white gold plaque at 3 o’clock bears the “L.U.CHOPARD” brand marque.
Dispensing with a traditional dial has the benefit of offering an unimpeded view of the dial-side strike-works of the calibre L.U.C 08.01-L. The movement finishing on display, both front and back, is truly impressive – linear brushing, black polishing, anglage, Côtes de Genève – and is executed to the exacting standards of the Poinçon de Genève. This seal of quality also extends to the case of the Full Strike Sapphire, making it the first non-metallic timepiece to bear the Geneva Seal.
The movement is not just an aesthetic treat, but also remains a technical tour de force that is just as impressive today as it was when it was first released in 2016. Traditional minute repeaters use gongs (usually made of some hardened steel alloy) that are a separate structure attached to the case of the watch. In the L.U.C Full Strike, the gongs and the front sapphire crystal are basically one and the same monobloc structure, with the front sapphire crystal serving as a resonator. Also, in a similarity to grand sonneries, a separate barrel wound by the crown provides the autonomy for the striking complication, which is why the Full Strike does not need a slide like other minute repeaters. For a detailed look into the technical innovations of the calibre L.U.C 08.01-L, check out our article on the first Full Strike in rose gold.
The L.U.C Full Strike Sapphire is presented on a hand-sewn grey rectangular scale alligator leather strap with a folding clasp in polished and satin-brushed ethical 18-carat white gold.
The Full Strike Sapphire is limited to five individually numbered pieces. The price is still to be confirmed. For more information, please visit Chopard.com.